What a Wonderful World
After speaking with Micheal, I admit, I felt better. He was alive, told dark humor jokes and he lowered down my high as a kite anxiety level to a point where I felt the weight of the world lifting off of me. I still disliked my father, the administration was still on my case, Richard was still a jerk and Heather was still gone but, you know, for a few minutes I knew that none of it was my fault.
There was still some sadness though with dad never accepting me; the school for not listening to me to begin with; Richard for being a dick for reasons known only to Satan himself and Heather being dead—at the hands of some sniveling coward who bullies his girlfriend.
I decided to take it all in stride. I still looked like a mess from the day before but I didn’t really care. I would be late, but I went to my history class with Miss Peterson. I would be late because I walked across campus and didn’t really care what she thought when I opened the door to the lecture hall.
All eyes were on me as I walked in.
“You are late, Kristopher.”
“Kristina, or have you not seen the pictures yet?”
There were some gasps and a few snickers from the class.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, but you know the rules. No one is allowed in after five minutes.”
“And you know the rules about putting your hands on students,” I replied as I lifted my sleeve to reveal the bruising she had left.
I had the attention of the class.
“I would have loved to have said something to the administrators about you, Miss Peterson, like how you did to me, or how you have been since the start of this week. But, you know, I’m not you. I will never be like you or this stereotype that you think I’m supposed to be.”
“Miss! Miss Novosellic. For crying out loud, does someone have a copy of that stupid picture to show her?”
I ran to the front row of seats and picked up a guy’s binder as he tried to hide it. I took the binder and slammed it open on the lectern.
“Surprise, it’s a girl!”
Miss Peterson tried to feign looking at it.
“Everyone knows about it now, including you.”
“This is pornography.”
“No, this is a personal picture. Mine. One that was stolen from my room and sent to everyone on the internet. If you even considered me “normal” then you would say that I am being taken advantage of and raped every time these pictures,” I flipped through them—whoever the guy in the front row was, he had the lot— “are shared. But you won’t. No, because I’m ‘different’ to you.”
Miss Peterson refused to look at me but quietly said “You can take your seat.”
“I’m not going to. I’m done with your class and people like you who want to preach one way about history, one way about society. There’s so much more to me, too bad you didn’t want to know.”
I picked the binder up and threw it on the floor in front of the guy I took it from. “And you need therapy, pal!’
It felt good to walk out of class, enough that I would have loved to make an encore of it and to maybe see if Peterson was either fuming or uncaring about everything. I assumed she would be fuming but would refuse to give me the satisfaction of seeing it on display. There were so many times that I wanted to do that to my dad but I never had the gumption to try as it was easier to just crawl back into my shell and nod in agreement to everything...well, almost everything.
I walked to the theatre instead, in hopes that the play was still on for Friday. I was almost there when my cell rang. It was a local number and I was almost afraid to answer it as I didn’t know who it could be.
“Hello?” I asked, waiting for the voice on the other line to tell me that someone else I knew had lost an appendage, died or that my pictures were going to be on some online message board for ogling..
“I’m Detective Davidson, Knoxville police,” he spoke in a strong southern drawl. “Can I ask you to come in concerning Heather?”
“Give me some time to get a ride out and I’ll be right there. Thank you.”
I flipped the phone closed and wondered if they had made a break in the case and needed me to verify that Jacob was a jackass who would stoop to kill to get his way.
Danny picked me up and we drove to where he worked to pick up Michael’s car.
“Can you drive?”
“Of course,” I replied I opened the passenger side of Danny’s car to get out.
“No, but I can’t have you drive me everywhere.”
I got out and closed the door; the window was down.
“I think you should go where you to go and then park the car back at the campus.”
“What did he tell you?” I asked Danny as he leaned over to hand me the keys.
“To keep two eyes on you.”
“Thank you. I’ll see what the police say about Heather and then, yes, I will drive it back to the dorm.”
“You won’t take it anywhere else?”
I shook my head.
“Good to hear. Let me know how it goes.”
“Will do,” I replied as I walked away from Danny and to Michael’s car.
The car had his scent and the mix of semi-new-car-smell. This was the first time I was on the driver’s side of it. He had asked me a few times if I ever wanted to drive it but I refused because it wasn’t my car and to be honest his driving terrified me and I feared he’d tell me to drive his way, which would have caused us to get into a single car wreck, a pile-up or abducted by aliens on a lonely East Tennessee highway.
It took a little bit of time to get downtown but I finally arrived at the police station. I walked into the building and approached the desk.
“Detective Davidson, please.”
“One moment,” came the reply from the officer at the front desk.
One moment became several minutes and I took the time wondering how to rephrase my theory about Jacob to maybe include Amanda...maybe she was a part of it as she didn’t show any signs of feeling upset at the loss and she would’ve been the last one to talk to Heather, the last person to see if she was alright before...before...
I didn’t understand how she could be with him after everything she told me. Had he pulled some sweet line; a freaking perversion of a sonnet to get her to stay? How he was sorry for how he treated her and he would never do that again? I was three seconds form grabbing my hair and pulling it out when the detective arrived.
“This way, please.”
We walked into an office that was very drab; it would appear that either he spent very little time in it or he just didn’t care to personalize it.
“Thank you for coming in,” he stated as I sat down.
“I have a lead on what happened to Heather.”
“We know what happened to her. That’s why I called you in.”
“But I told the officer that-“
“How well did you know Heather?” He asked as he sat in a chair across from me.
“Um, well, since the beginning of the term and we’ve been in the drama department of ether but haven’t really been on friendly terms until this week and-“
“Your name was on a note that was found near her.”
He reached for a file on the desk and took out a photocopy of a hand-written note.
“We’ve contacted her family and they gave us permission to let you see it.”
I wanted to avoid looking at it, wondering if it was written under duress. Had Jacob twisted her arm or tortured her to write a meaningless, mock, suicide note of some type. However, I took the note because it was the last I would hear from her.
“To Kristi Novoselic. Dear Kristi, I’m writing to tell you this wasn’t your fault. You’ll think it is, as I know you will; you’re like that—always trying to help, even when no one understands. You and and your boyfriend are like that, something I saw when I first met the two of you. I really wanted to get to know you, even more so after I learned you, you were a woman, and I thought that there would be a chance after we talked a bit and I so wanted to dream of it, to hold onto you, but, I didn’t think you’d ever move away from your boyfriend.
I tried to see if I could feel something with Mandy, yes, she likes to be called Mandy, not her so proper name, but she still wanted to hang onto her boyfriend—even though he’s an insufferable jerk—as he walked in on us and didn't seem to care so much as he wanted to join in and Amanda welcomed it; but I didn’t. I felt used, more than I ever had in my life and I have felt that way for a long time. Maybe I was too stand-offish to the right person, maybe I didn’t try hard enough,
I admit I am giving up. I’m not strong enough to be who I want to be without the right person beside me. I wanted it so much to be you, but, it’s not meant to be. Micheal’s a lucky guy and you’re his world. I don’t know if anyone will remember me as anything but a lost actor but I hope that they will. O, never say that I was false of heart. Though absence seemed my flame to qualify. As easy might I from my self depart. Heather Ashman.”
It must have been a few minutes but it felt like an eternity.
There were no tears, I was in too much shock because I hadn’t noticed how she really felt, all of the times she would come up to me; never say my name or look me in the eyes and then this week it all exploded and I didn’t even blink.
“Miss? You okay”
I turned to the detective. “Can I keep this?”
“Yes. Are you alright though?”
“Just. Just saddened that I didn’t say anything to her before-“
“You can’t blame yourself.”
“You’re the second person to tell me that today,” I said with a small laugh.
The detective cleared his throat and then stood up. “Do you need anything?”
“No, no, I’m fine. Thank you, I guess I need to get back to school I-“
I rose up, robotically, and walked out of the office as if on auto-pilot.
I waited until I was in the front seat of the car to cry my eyes out and that took a bit of time—so much so that it was almost five before I started the car and drove back to campus.
I parked in front of the theatre and looked at myself in the mirror. I was a mess, just like the day before. I had pretty much forgotten what day it was with everything piling on and on. I took once last glance, shrugged my shoulders, and walked to the theatre.
The cast and crew sat in the front row. Mr Montesi stood on the stage and addressed us all in a somber tone; so much so that I wanted to go and put a radio microphone on him.
“They have officially announced Heather’s death and a memorial service has been scheduled for Sunday afternoon. The administration has asked me to decide whether or not to continue the show in light of what’s happened.”
I immediately rose to feet. “Mr Montesi We need to do the show, if only one production, for Heather. I’ll do it all myself if I have to.”
“I admire your dedication, Kristi, but we need the consensus from the troupe. I will not force anyone to perform if they choose not to.
“The show must go on, sir.” Marcus said as slapped his hands to his knees and stood up.
“I’m in,” Halley said.
“Me too,” Leslie concurred.
The other members of the troupe stood up; and Brendon raised his prop sword.
Mr Montesi clapped his hands. “Thank you, everyone. Then, let’s get started with rehearsal.”
“Mr Director, sir,” Marcus said as he turned to the rest of us.
“I’m only speaking for myself,” he walked a steps towards me and put his left hand in his pocket, “but I think I know who should sub for Heather.” Marcus pulled out the prop gold chain and held it out to me.
“I see, sir, you have found the goldsmith now: Is that the chain you promised me today?”
“Can’t have anyone else play the part, right, Kristi?” He said with a wink,
‘Thank you, Marcus.”
“Kristi I will still need your assistance for the first two acts.” Mr. Montesi yelled as he walked to the back of the set.
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